Just one link today and no lengthy comment for it. All I can say is: This is what happens when America wills itself to be led by a president who truly, deep down, does not understand or believe in America.
While in Brussels, the capital of Bureaucratic Eurotopia, President Obama repeatedly referred to the sport real Americans know as “Soccer” as “football.” Andrew Stiles explains what this minor gaffe reveals about the president.
Hearing someone (any American, that is) refer to soccer as “football” is one of the most definitive signs that you should never be friends with that person. This is especially true if they immediately clarify themselves to let you know they were actually talking about “soccer.” If they begin to explain why they say “football” instead of soccer (see previous paragraph), it is advisable to extricate yourself from the conversation/relationship immediately.
This gaffe (if we can call it that) is just the latest example of Obama’s deeply held desire to join the global cultural elite.
In soccer, players are encouraged to over-react and wildly exaggerate the slightest injury in order to convince officials to penalize the other team. If that ain’t the central tactic of modern liberalism, I don’t what is.
Despite trillions in economic “stimulus” which have pushed the stock market to record highs, the U.S. economy officially shrank by 1% in the first quarter.
Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the first quarter according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis…
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month.
If second quarter GDP does the same, the economy will officially be in a recession.
But surely the problem isn’t with the economy? Now in its fifth “summer of recovery” – yes fifth, so there! – and with the official unemployment rate dropping, surely the economy is fine?
The problem must be that our government officials aren’t measuring GDP correctly. After all, truth is a social construct, right? Just rig the GDP counting methods until officials produce a number that “proves” the economy is growing, and have President Obama declare it’s true, and it will be true.
They did things that way in 2013. For example, when Obama simply declared that his irresponsible budget proposal was “fiscally responsible”. Or when they suddenly declared the GDP to be $550 billion higher after deciding that GDP should include future government pension promises, money lost on failed movies, and so forth.
Italy gets the idea. Italy will start to count cocaine sales, prostitution and smuggling as part of their GDP.
The UK is also working on it. Contribution of drug dealers and prostitutes to the UK economy boosted GDP by £10bn according to estimates.
For the first time official statisticians are measuring the value to the UK economy of sex work and drug dealing – and they have discovered these unsavoury hidden-economy trades make roughly the same contribution as farming.
You see? In this modern world, when a hooker helps a Kennedy get to sleep at night, she contributes as much to national wealth as a farmer growing food for someone’s table.
Obama needs to get on this (so to speak). That way, The Party can prove that the economy is always growing. /sarc
While China, Russia and Iran may not be natural allies, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and they’re getting together to oppose the U.S. I’ve suggested before that President Obama’s efforts to isolate Russia are only goading these countries in their ongoing efforts to create a non-U.S. system for world trade and finance, a system that other countries (Germany, other BRICs, etc.) would come to do business with. Eventually bringing about the decline (or overthrow) of the U.S. dollar as the world’s key currency.
- BRICS countries are still setting up a Development Bank, like the IMF and World Bank but serving their own interests. It “will begin operating as soon as in 2015…The currency reserve pool will assist a member country with resolving problems with its balance of payments” – such problems as, oh, the U.S. trying to undermine Russia’s economy.
- Russia has dumped 20% of its U.S. Treasury bond holdings. (It will be more significant when China does it, but there it begins.)
- China has slammed Obama’s sanctions against Russia.
- China and Russia deepen their ongoing military ties, such as a joint naval drill which they held a few days ago.
- China and Iran announce plans to deepen their military ties. “According to an Iranian news report, [China's Defense Minister] Chang also said that China views Iran as a strategic partner.”
- A top EU Commissioner warned that “Any ‘sensible’ European Union citizen should oppose further sanctions on Russia because of the economic cost for Europe.” More recently, Germany’s Finance minister implies that the U.S. is a poor partner.
- If you believe the Voice of Russia (which tends to spew propaganda), Russia is reviving the GECF (like an OPEC for natural gas) with help from Qatar and other gas-producing countries. Also, Russia intends to use ruble/yuan instead of dollars in its energy trading.
- Putin opens Russia to greater Chinese investment. And large Russian and Chinese banks work out deals to settle payments in ruble and yuan, rather than dollars.
- A huge step forward for Russia and China: They finally sign their big natural gas deal. It’s worth $400 billion over 30 years, took a decade to negotiate and will involve tens of billions of joint capital expenditure by the two countries (e.g., new pipelines).
- “Russia may sign an agreement to build 8 nuclear reactors in Iran.” In other words, Russia views Iran as a strategic partner, and strives to help Iran’s nuclear program.
- In an interview, Putin says the ‘unipolar’ world order has run its course – and much more.
The non-U.S. dominated world: bit by bit, it’s coming.
Hat tip to Zero Hedge, which has long covered this story and furnished several of the above links.
I don’t really know how to express how puerile and silly the whole thing with the First Lady and that hashtag thing was, so I’ve put it down in a few thousand words instead (and included a thousand empty ones for you to play along and do your own as well).
(By the way, a whole bunch more here. I haven’t read through all of them, so if I accidentally ripped someone off with one of mine, it was totally unintentional.)
Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)
With splendid “Who, me?” innocence, President Obama declared on April 16:
The good news is our economy is growing again, our businesses are creating jobs…
Here’s the challenge, and a lot of folks here know it. A lot of people don’t feel that progress in their own lives yet. So, the stock market’s doing great. Corporate profits are soaring. Folks at the very, very top are doing better than ever. But too many Americans, if they’re lucky enough to have a job, are working harder and harder just to get by, much less to get ahead.
For too many middle class Americans, it feels as if the same trends that have been going on for decades are continuing. They’re working hard, but wages flatline, incomes flatline, cost of everything else going up.
(For video – and hat tip to Peter Schiff – click here.)
As I mention often (in GP categories such as Economy or Occupy Wall Street), President Obama’s own policies are the cause of the rising inequality, stagnation and poor employment, inflation and rising costs that he decries.
The way he denounces the economy, you’d never know he’s been President for five and a half years.
We know the Ukraine crisis is hot, with Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of terrorism and east Ukraine basically expecting a Russian invasion. But what interests me is the larger backdrop: the erosion of the U.S. dollar as the world “reserve currency” (or centerpiece of global finance and trade).
You see, the more President Obama tries to isolate Putin, the more he pushes Russia and its trading partners – such as China, India, Germany, Iran – to speed their efforts to integrate their economies and financial systems, to the exclusion of the U.S.
Consider the following news items. None are earth-shattering, but each reveals a bit of the picture.
- As I blogged two weeks ago, Russia and Iran are making progress on a large trade deal, which is being called ‘barter’ because the U.S. dollar won’t be used.
- Now the U.S. has warned Russia against that deal, saying it would trigger immediate, greater sanctions against Russia.
So, Russia annexing territory (the Crimea) is not really a big deal to Washington; it triggers token U.S. sanctions. But Russia trading with its own neighbor (Iran), in a way that bypasses the dollar-based financial system and thus the U.S. ability to eject little countries from world trade – that gets Washington’s attention. That tells you where the sore spot is.
- Russia has doubled military spending since 2010 and continues to increase it.
- Russia has doubled the price that Ukraine must pay for natural gas, and makes threatening noises about Ukraine’s failure to pay.
- Could those things be warnings to Europe? Why yes, along with more direct warnings: for example, Putin suggests that Europe’s gas supplies will be reduced if Europe doesn’t play ball with Russia.
- Could the threats work, prying Europe loose(r) from the U.S.? Possibly: A top German official warns that Germany needs Russian gas.
- Russia is set to strike a new gas deal with China, which speaks to further Russia-China integration.
- And Russian companies are getting set to issue Yuan-denominated debt, another sign of growing Russia-China integration.
Do you see where this is going? Not toward Russia being isolated. Maybe, in time, toward the U.S. being isolated.
UPDATE: Ordinary Russians are only annoyed, not frightened, by U.S. sanctions.
Like aging, the overthrow of the U.S. dollar (as the key world currency) is a gradual process. In the last month, I’ve blogged on Russia as a U.S. financial opponent, growing ties among the BRICS nations, and growing Germany-China ties, all tending toward the decline (or eventual elimination) of the dollar from those countries’ relationships with each other.
Today it’s growing Russia-Iran ties (that remove the U.S. dollar from their partnership):
(Reuters) – Iran and Russia have made progress towards an oil-for-goods deal sources said would be worth up to $20 billion, which would enable Tehran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
In January Reuters reported Moscow and Tehran were discussing a barter deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods…
[A] source said the two sides were looking at a barter arrangement that would see Iranian oil being exchanged for industrial goods including metals and food…
The Iranian official said missiles would also be part of the deal, together with Russia providing assistance with building two nuclear plants in Iran…
Missiles? Yikes! But this is what you can expect, with
Jimmy Carter President Obama at the helm. He should have assisted Iran’s (aborted) Green Revolution back in 2009-10, when he had the chance.
Hat tip, ZH.
Yeah, that will have Putin quaking in his boots. (Putin, BTW, has an 80% approval rating in Russia.)
Also, did you read where John Kerry pitched a hissy-fit because the Israeli Defense Minister said the US was showing weakness?
Are there any adults left at the State Department? May I speak with one of them, please?
To retire, you need a regular income stream. For a lot of Americans, that’s Social Security. But many will tell you it’s not enough; plus you only get it in your 60s. What would it take for a person to retire on their own, today?
For that, you need investment income. Hopefully, you invest capital safely and live off the proceeds. Let’s take a lottery-ticket approach. Say you’re young (no Social Security for decades, and your principal needs to last, so no dipping into that). How much do you need to win in the lottery, to get $50,000/year of investment income?
This will be verrrry quick-and-dirty. Let’s simply assume that you keep your lottery winnings half in 5-year bank CDs, and half in a U.S. stock market index fund. I won’t bore you with the math. In brief, currently you’d get 1.55% from the 5-year CDs (per bankrate.com), and 1.88% from the S&P 500. It comes out to your needing roughly $2.9 million.
$2.9 million, just to yield $50,000/year. But what’s interesting is how this compares to times past.
- 5 years ago (2009): the 5-year bank CD rate was around 3.5% (again per bankrate.com), and the S&P dividend yield was around 2.5%. You would have needed roughly $1.7 million.
- 10 years ago (2004): the bank CD rate was around 3.5%, and the S&P dividend yield around 1.8%. You would have needed roughly $1.9 million.
Again, these numbers are just for a long-lived person to get themselves a $50,000 annual yield. A person in their 60s, collecting Social Security and/or dipping into their principal, would need rather less money. Especially if the stock market goes well (we know that always happens, right?) so they get some capital appreciation.
But here’s the point that applies to everyone: the kind of change we can see in the numbers.
- Between 2004 and 2009, the cost of a $50,000 yield stayed roughly the same (going down 10% or so).
- Between 2009 and today, the cost of a $50,000 yield has skyrocketed (up over 60%).
And that’s why tens of millions of Americans now feel like they can never retire. They can’t retire because the cost of getting X amount of retirement income (from bank CDs or stocks) has skyrocketed, in the last five years. Whatever their own “retirement number” was, big or small, suddenly they need much more. So they can’t retire, and keep working.
This is one dark side of market bubbles. The Federal Reserve’s ZIRP and “QE” policies are designed to make the financial markets go higher. A stock market bubble means, among other things, everyone paying more money for small (or nonexistent) yields. Higher bond markets mean lower bank CD yields. High real estate markets mean higher housing costs. The financial markets are roughly like your price tag for retirement. In the last few years, Obama/Bernanke/Yellen have pumped some giant inflation into them. It’s not a good thing.
And all of that is aside from the question of inflation in general: the fact that $50,000 today won’t buy you what it did 5 years ago. (Gasoline and medical costs, for example, are way up.) “Thanks, Obama!”
We’ve gone from liberals who’d make fun of former GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney (on Russia), to…well…Russians openly mocking President Obama.
Now being remembered, a typical example of liberals who made fun of Romney:
So I guess if Romney is elected we can get ready for a new cold war with Russia.
Romney got in his (well-justified) “I told you so” last weekend:
Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?
A large part of the answer is our leader’s terrible timing. In virtually every foreign-affairs crisis we have faced these past five years, there was a point when America had good choices and good options. There was a juncture when America had the potential to influence events. But we failed to act at the propitious point; that moment having passed, we were left without acceptable options….
“The US and EU sanctions against Russia are absurd and unreal,” State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Alexander Romanovich told Itar-Tass…“This is an operetta, and we can only laugh…”
UPDATE: Russia and China drawing closer together. “The worse Russia’s relations are with the West, the closer Russia will want to be to China. If China supports you, no one can say you’re isolated.” It’s just like Obama, to not get that.
The sexy up-and-coming political movement, “the wave of the future”, is (almost by definition) the one where the young, hot women are. I don’t know where they are now, except Obama ain’t it. As just one illustration, here’s Carey Wedler, a former Obama groupie burning her 2008 campaign T-shirt.
Her list of specific disappointments with Obama is pretty left-wing, but she has some pro-liberty ones in there too, and she comes to a libertarian-anarchist conclusion: “The institution of government is the problem.”
UPDATE: More signs?
- Ordinary New Yorkers gather to burn their gun registration forms. (When I was a kid, burning draft registration forms was more the fashion.)
- Even the New York Times admits Obama has become “poisonous” to the Democrats’ political fortunes.
- Even Bill Gates worries that Obama’s minimum-wage proposal would destroy jobs for the young. (Remember, he’s a flaming liberal; Microsoft is the “MS” in MSNBC.)
- At least a third of the uninsured plan to stay that way, rejecting Obamacare. “Premiums have increased by 39 percent to 56 percent, compared to pre-Obamacare coverage.”
It’s hard because there are so many items to choose from, weekly. And they’re mostly both technical and depressing (not fun to read). Obamacare is a mess of unbelievable proportions. Even now, I have 40+ related items open in browser tabs, that I had meant to get to sometime.
But here goes; I’ll try to hit a few highlights. First, President Obama’s top three Obamacare promises in 74 seconds, all lies:
The House GOP want to bless Obama’s delay of his “individual mandate” (that immorally forces people to buy insurance). Yet Obama means to resist them.
Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that Obamacare will weaken the economy. Along with other Obama policies, it effectively raises marginal tax rates, giving people less incentive to work. “…the CBO…reported that by 2024 the equivalent of 2.5 million Americans who were otherwise willing and able to work before ObamaCare will work less or not at all as a result of ObamaCare.” Labor unions agree that Obamacare will slam wages and work hours.
Even Dana Milbank (liberal at the Washington Post) agrees that young people are rejecting both Obamacare, and Obama. “The administration announced last week that only 1.08 million people ages 18 to 34 had signed up for Obamacare by the end of February…If the proportion doesn’t improve significantly, the result likely will be fatal for the Affordable Care Act.”
Along those lines, Catherine Austin Fitts observes, “I don’t see Obamacare as something designed to offer healthcare…It was designed to create a framework that would allow three things. One…to use digital technology to radically reduce labor costs…Second…you wanted, as the baby boomers were aging, to…dramatically reduce the healthcare services available to them…Third…to use healthcare to really control the population…an effort to centralize power.” – Austin Fitts sees government bureaucrats as profoundly competent, once you know their real plan. What they achieve in practice (which may be bad) was very likely their real plan, as opposed to what they told the public.
Bonus article: The Greeks are finding that socialized medicine doesn’t work, once you get older and need more of it.
UPDATE: Obamacare raises family insurance costs MORE than the previous eight years, combined. Just like Obama adding more to the national debt than the previous 8 Presidents combined, I guess.
These items have been all over, and deserve to be noticed here at GayPatriot.
Liberal bias, in media & academia? Why, yes.
- Sharyl Attkisson, the Fast and Furious investigative reporter, found out that her bosses at CBS only loved her when her reporting supported Democrat narratives.
- Juan Williams recently asked out loud, “why do liberals have so much hate for black conservatives?”
More people seeing that the Emperor Has No Clothes? Thankfully, yes.
- Obama is under water on the Ukraine crisis. 42% approve his handling, 43% disapprove.
- While a bipartisan majority support sanctions against Russia, they’re mainly older people, because younger people say no. Among the Obama-voting 35-and-under, 55% are against it.
IRS / Tea Party scandal as real as ever? Yup.
- Great, daily coverage at TaxProf Blog.
- Yes, Lerner targeted the Tea Party, and even what she called “organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential Koch brothers”. More Koch Derangement Syndrome. Some people are on too much Koch!
- Lerner continued last week to plead the 5th. The IRS will give up all her emails, supposedly; I put it that way because enough time has passed that only God knows what they may have scrubbed.
FROM THE (OTHER) COMMENTS: In the other Koch Derangement Syndrome thread, some fine comments are relevant here.
- runningrn says “The Koch brothers didn’t even crack the top 10 when it came to the top political donors. In fact they are way the heck down the list at number 59…The 6 biggest union donors in American politics gave 15 times more to mostly Democrats…”
- And Annie gives us the WSJ link.
One should ask why the IRS doesn’t target all that union money? Or target, to coin a phrase, “organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential George Soros”?
AND SOME FOLLOW-UPS:
- Rep. Alan Grayson (D – FL) won’t be charged after allegations that he physically abused his wife. GP talked about it here. The video evidence – which was incomplete (having gaps in it) – did not support Lolita Carson-Grayson’s story. Nonetheless, a judge granted her a restraining order against Rep. Grayson. We’re still waiting for the new feminist campaign, “I BELIEVE YOU, LOLITA!”
- Gary Lyngar answers his son, who had made a splash by claiming “I lost my dad to Fox News”. Hint: The son was about as real and honest with us as you’d expect from a writer who whines about his parent’s politics. As the elder Mr. Lyngar puts it, his son was “dead wrong” and “a lot of it’s his perception of what’s going on and not reality”.
Last week, President Obama released his new budget proposal, which in February he said would be the end of austerity. First let’s ask, what is meant by “austerity”? As a policy, was it ever tried?
As discussed by myself and others, “austerity” means tax hikes (not spending cuts) in practice. Lefties hurl the word “austerity” to demonize the idea of spending cuts. But few of the countries which left-liberals accused of cruel austerity in the last few years cut their overall government spending levels; the majority continued to increase spending. So spending cuts can’t explain those countries’ poor economic results. What can? Well, most of them raised taxes.
Clearly, we should end (or reverse) the tax hikes. That would be a great “end of austerity”. But Obama’s meaning is that we should undertake spending increases; which, for reasons touched on below, probably mean deficit increases.
Before going into Obama’s proposal, let’s review the current state of the U.S. budget. (more…)
To be clear: Putin is a tyrant, and I condemn him. I condemn Russia’s military actions against Ukraine, and I support the people of Ukraine in being free and determining their own government. (Should it still be called the Ukraine, in English? Some say no.)
Having said that: As human beings, Obama and Kerry tend to be hypocrites who overplay their hands. And they strike me as surprised that Putin has offered military resistance to their wishes in the Ukraine crisis. Which raises the question: What are their real wishes? Did U.S. agencies organize the most recent Ukrainian revolution?
If so, the U.S. security apparatus would have motive in plenty. Russia supplies Europe’s oil and gas via pipelines that go through Ukraine. Putting those pipelines under control of an anti-Putin, anti-Russia government would be payback for a lot of Russian moves, not limited to Russia’s harboring of Edward Snowden (of the NSA surveillance revelations).
As to evidence of U.S. meddling: first, the Voice of Russia claims to have revelations about it, including a story that Ukrainian protestors had been murdered by their new government as a ‘false flag’ operation to foment the revolution. But Voice of Russia isn’t good enough. After all, the KGB (Putin’s first career) specialized in putting out disinformation. Is there other evidence?
In February, the Financial Times leaked a phone conversation allegedly between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to Ukraine (Geoffrey Pyatt) wherein they explicitly plan who will be in Ukraine’s next government. The ZH link provides audio; the Nuland voice famously says “F**k the EU”, near the end.
That’s still not hard evidence, because Nuland/Pyatt might have been fantasizing or delusional about the extent of their influence. Overall, although motive abounds for the U.S. to have brought about the Ukraine revolution, the evidence for it is still weak.
Regardless of the answer here, my feelings are mixed. It would be nifty if President Obama really cared about promoting freedom in Ukraine and/or U.S. interests, especially after he failed to support them in Iran’s aborted Green revolution of 2009-10. On the other hand, I’m against murdering protestors; and the U.S. shouldn’t be making trouble on Russia’s doorstep without a very compelling U.S. security interest. It would be just like Obama to overplay his hand with something like that. Containing Putin is one thing; aggressive (and losing) games of brinksmanship with Putin are another.
Speaking of the U.S. possibly losing the game: Russia is keeping up the the financial threats I mentioned a few days ago. Russia’s foreign minister, Lavrov, affirms that sanctions would “hit the U.S. like a boomerang”. And yes, China is siding with Russia against Obama’s threat of sanctions (so China may join Russia in dumping U.S. Treasury bonds). FWIW, India also seems to lean toward Russia. It is not at all clear that, in a diplomatic contest between Obama and Putin, Putin would be the one who ends up isolated.
From Stephen F. Hayes:
For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.
In the real world, it was a pen pal of the late jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki who opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood. The Christmas bomber was dispatched from Yemen, where he was instructed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Times Square bomber was trained and financed by the Pakistani Taliban. Benghazi was a deliberate attack launched by well-known terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is amassing territory and increasing its profile. Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians. The Iranian regime is firmly entrenched as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and remains determined to lead a nuclear state. And in Russia we face a Cold War throwback willing to use force to expand Russian influence.
And Vladimir Putin, it turns out, is who we thought he was. Unfortunately, so is Barack Obama.
“When Aretha [Franklin] first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved. They wanted some respect,” Obama said.
Update: Media bias? What media bias?
CNN was quick to cover for Obama’s misspelling. Ashley Banfield said Obama just “wanted to throw us all, see if we were actually all paying attention.”
I’m amazed to see financial threats being made this openly. Like real military threats, real financial threats are usually made via backchannels. But, then again, President Obama has threatened Russia openly with sanctions.
MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that authorities would issue general advice to dump US government bonds in the event of Russian companies and individuals being targeted by sanctions over events in Ukraine.
Sergei Glazyev said the United States would be the first to suffer in the event of any sanctions regime…
Glazyev noted that Russia is a creditor to the United States.
“We hold a decent amount of treasury bonds – more than $200 billion – and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner,” he said. “We will encourage everybody to dump US Treasury bonds, get rid of dollars as an unreliable currency and leave the US market.”
Is it just bluster? As recently as last year, the answer would be yes. But China holds approximately $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds; and if Russia ‘goes there’, China will not want to be left behind.
And for several years now, China has been working with its partners (including Russia, Japan, Brazil, the UK, France and Germany) to set up facilities for trade & finance that would enable them, collectively and at long last, to be independent of the U.S. dollar. Even before this crisis, some experts were predicting that 2014-15 would see those efforts bear fruit.
Leave it to John F.-n Kerry and Barack Obama to be just stupid enough to push Russia and China further along a road that they are already well-and-gladly on.
V picked up on the Obama Fantasy aspect of the Ukraine crisis earlier; consider this part 2.
President Obama thinks he can hit Russia with economic sanctions but, as they did last summer in the Syria crisis, Britain is siding with Russia for practical purposes.
Of course the Telegraph article tries to make it sound nice, in the lede:
Britain is preparing to rule out trade sanctions against Russia amid fears that the Ukraine crisis could derail the global economic recovery.
Further down is the truth:
…the capacity of European leaders to react decisively has been hampered by the dependence of much of the European Union on Russian oil and gas…
On Monday, Mr Obama…said he had warned Russia that if it continued on its “current trajectory”, it would face “a whole series” of economic and diplomatic steps that would leave it isolated.
However, there was little sign that the increased pressure was doing anything to deter Mr Putin…
It is not a foregone conclusion that Russia is the one facing isolation. This is a measure of how much American influence has been lost on Obama’s watch.